Increase in people waiting 12 hours in Altnagelvin Emergency Department

The number of people waiting more than 12 hours in the emergency department in Altnagelvin Hospital has quadrupled in year.

Monday, 3rd February 2020, 11:16 am

In December 2018, 132 people were waiting more than 12 hours. However, in December 2019 this rocketed to 637 people.

Across the North there has been an increase in people attending emergency departments from 66,636 in December 2018 to 73,313 in the same month in 2019.

The Emergency Care Waiting Time statistics, which were published by the Department of Health, show that a total of 5,290 people attended the emergency department in Altnagelvin Hospital in December 2019.

This is down from 5,788 the previous year and it is also lower than attendances in October 2019 and November 2019 - 5,841 and 5,545 respectively.

Almost 70 per cent of these people were triaged as being level one to level three patients, people assumed to be in the most urgent need of treatment.

Across the North just over 60 per cent of attendances were triaged as being in the top three levels.

Commenting on the figures, the Health Minister Robin Swann, said: “These figures are simply not good enough. The people of Northern Ireland deserve better. I have written to the chief executives of each of the Trusts, requesting detailed assessments of the situation.”

Dr Ian Crawford, Vice President (Northern Ireland) of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said: “These figures should come as no surprise. We have reached breaking point. Our Emergency Department services are hanging by a thread.”

He said that immediate action is required by Stormont to increase staffing, the number of acute hospital beds and social care.